When I tune into RTÉ Radio 1 in Belfast I usually have my radio on 252 Long Wave, This is because the signal quality seems to be more stable than FM. Even with the swap of FM frequencies between Radio 1 and Lyric FM, I find the Long Wave service much more convenient. It was always very useful to have LW252 as an option when travelling by car in Britain. When it comes to summer sports such as GAA finals, the LW service remains a very important link for the Irish diaspora in Britain and beyond.
In the Irish Times, Patsy McGarry has an interesting article about the benefits of LW252. RTÉ’s planned closure of its long-wave radio service on January 19th has been described as a “crying shame” by a leading Irish child sex abuse campaigner in Britain. Mick Waters founded the Survivors of Child Abuse Soca (UK) group, precursor to Soca (Ireland). It grew out of the Artane Old Boys organisation he set up in the English midlands in 1965. Speaking to The Irish Times from Coventry, Mr Waters said many of the people he had dealt with down the decades “love that [RTÉ long-wave] connection. It’s very important to them.”
Tony Corcoran was driving in Southport, Lancashire, listening to RTÉ radio when he spoke to The Irish Times on the issue. “It’s as clear as any local station,” he said. If the long-wave service was to go, neither he nor anyone else in the UK would be able to listen to RTÉ in a car, he said. He said that during the football championship, people sat in cars across the UK with RTÉ on and windows open so others could hear commentary.
RTÉ originally intended to close down the transmitter at Clarkstown in County Meath on October 27th 2014 but it has postponed the move until January 19th 2015 following calls by emigrants’ groups and others in Britain. The Catholic bishops of Ireland also criticised the decision. If you want to know more about the campaign to save LW252, a page with a petition can be found here.